There is no doubt that breeding snakes is one of the most exciting and rewarding parts of this hobby. The very idea of your prized boas producing offspring is a huge draw for many keepers, and the lure of being able to sell those offspring to offset the costs of the hobby, or even to make a profit, can be very strong. There are a number of considerations which should be taken very seriously however before a decision to attempt breeding your pet boas is taken.
Successfully breeding your boas will take a considerable amount of time and effort, you will need several healthy boas in good condition and of breeding age, along with the space end equipment not only to house and care for the adults, but potentially a large number of neonates.
Preparing boas for breeding will require that you have the space and equipment to control temperature changes accurately. A single gravid female can give birth to as many as 40 offspring, and you will not only need to house, feed, and care for these as neonate, but also find a way to rehome them. If you spent $100 on a juvenile boa in the past, the idea of having 40 juveniles to sell might seem very appealing. However, finding buyers for 40 young snakes is easier said than done. While perfect specimens of rare snakes and colour morphs (such as albino boas constrictors, or leucistic boas) may be desirable to customers, selling a quantity of young snakes of a common species such as a common or red tailed boa, especially if they are undistinguished with little colour, is likely to prove extremely difficult. You could be forced to sell to a dealer for an extremely low price, or be lumbered with a large number of rapidly growing snakes and no way of disposing of them. Unless you are breeding rare morphs, and can afford the breeding stock of high-end boa morphs to begin with, you’ll struggle to make a profit by breeding boas. It is commonly believed that the only way to make a decent profit from breeding boas is either to produce them in very large numbers, or to concentrate on color variants such as albinos, hyper-melanistic, or high end morphs. However, that doesn’t mean that small scale breeding isn’t rewarding – the joy and experience from breeding your boas should be your primary consideration.
There is also a risk to your adult boas if you decide to attempt to breed them. A period of cooling, known as brumation, is used to induce mating. This cooling period, which also involved stopping feeding altogether, can leave your snakes weak and prone to illness. Failure to breed, illness, and even death are real dangers that must be considered.
Having said all of that, successfully breeding your boas will probably be one of the most rewarding things you can ever do in this hobby. With good research, careful record keeping, the proper care, and a little luck you will give your boas the best possible chance of producing offspring. If you make arrangements in advance to ensure that you are able to sell those offspring once they are born, and you have the space, equipment and time available to make such a commitment, then you too can experience the joys of breeding your boas.